A ceremony held on February 25 marked the beginning of construction for the Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, according to a feature on the Navy website.
A “first cut of steel” ceremony was held at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding Newport News in Virginia, before advance construction commenced. The steel plate that was cut during the ceremony will be used in the construction of the carrier.
Rear Adm. Michael McMahon, Program Executive Officer (PEO) for Aircraft Carriers, said: “Today we mark the beginning of the advance construction of CVN 79, second of the Gerald R. Ford-class of aircraft carriers… It’s an important step in continuing carrier construction using advanced technologies and efficiencies to reduce both ownership and procurement cost in this new class of carriers.”
The carrier will become part of a new class of ships that is slated to replace Enterprise and Nimitz-class carriers. It has a planned service life of 50 years, and may bring more than $5 billion in total ownership costs for the duration of its service life, when compared to Nimitz-class carriers.
Ford-class aircraft carriers are fitted with several advanced technology systems, such as Electromagnetic Aircraft Launching Systems, advanced arresting gear, dual band radar, a redesigned smaller island and a new propulsion plant. They retain, however, the same hull form of Nimitz-class carriers.
The first ship in this class is Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), which is also currently under construction at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding-Newport News. Its scheduled delivery to the fleet is on September 2015. The second carrier has not yet been named, but has been designated as CVN 79.